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  • The Original Guru

    The Original Guru

    Author: Sripad Bhakti Sharan Vaisnava Maharaj Uploaded by: Radha Raman das Created at: 31 March, 2013
    Duration: 00:56:56 Date: 2009-08-05 Size: 78.21Mb Downloaded: 2197 Played: 6716
    Edited by: Kamala Devi Dasi Transcribed by: Kamala Devi Dasi Audio Edited by: Kamala Devi Dasi

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    [There is] one nice praṇām-mantra of Śrī Baladev that our beloved Gurudev has been captured by in that book, in that section,
    sphurad-amala-kirītaṁ kiṅkinī-kaṅkaṇārhaṁ
    chala-dala-kakapolaṁ kuṇḍala-śrī-mukhābjam
    tuhina-giri-manojñaṁ nīla-meghāmbarāḍhyaṁ
    hala-musala-viśālaṁ kāma-pālaṁ samīḍe

    (Śrī Garga-saṁhitā: 8.13.4)
    "I praise the fulfiller of Desires, Sri Balaram. He carries a grand plow and club. He wears a shining, spotless crown, tinkling bells, and jeweled ornaments. His handsome lotus face is ornamented with earrings. Curling locks decorate His cheeks. His complexion resembles a beautiful snow-capped mountain, and is adorned with garments the colour of dark-blue clouds."
    That śloka used to be on Gurudev’s wall in Kolkata. I think it stayed in the old veranda when he moved and it’s on the wall of his veranda in Nabadwīp. So a very beautiful praṇām-mantra of Baladev. Everything about him is very splendid and dazzling and shining like a golden mountain. His earrings, dress, everything about him of course. Hala-musala-viśālaṁ he always has a plow and a club.

    The original Guru, the first expansion of Kṛṣṇa has come as Nityānanda Prabhu

    So, on this day we are very fortunate to remember Śrī Baladev. And Baladev has a very very important position for all of us and although we’re so far from Kṛṣṇaloka and that particular consciousness. But Baladev is the original Guru, he is the first expansion of Kṛṣṇa. If we were in Śrī Chaitanya Saraswat Maṭh we’d certainly read the fifth chapter of Ādi-līlā today. Nityānanda-tattva, because Baladev has come as Nityānanda, “Balarāma haila Nitāi” we sang that a few days ago, but Nityānanda Prabhu actually removed Baladev and Kṛṣṇa, “Your time is over and now is the time for my Gaurāṅga.” That is our Guru who is telling us that, that is the position of Guru. What is Nityānanda Prabhu praying? “Bhaja Gaurāṅga, kaha Gaurāṅga, laha Gaurāṅgera nāma...”—that’s Baladev’s prayer in the form of Nityānanda Prabhu. He is praying to every living entity, praying! We are not fit to take the name of Gaurāṅga, we are not fit to talk about Gaurāṅga, we are not fit to worship Gaurāṅga, but still Baladev in the form of Nityānanda Prabhu is begging us to do those things, “Take the name of my Gaurāṅga.”
    In that song we just heard, “dīnahīna patita pāmara nāhi bāche...(Nitāi guṇamaṇi āmāra: 3)—Baladev has no consideration who is dīna, who is hīna, who is poor, who is bereft, who is fallen, who is abominable, who is [a] disgusting person pāmara, very low class disgusting person. Nityānanda Prabhu has no consideration of that.
    So, Guru has now taken this mood. Baladev is the Ādi-Guru and now the Guru has taken this mood, “dīnahīna patita pāmara nāhi bāche,”—no consideration who it is. It’s a very beautiful song Nitāi guṇamaṇi āmāra, Nityānanda Prabhu made this flood, he took the ocean, as in [the verse about] Baladev we sang this morning from Daśāvatār-stotram (8),
    vahasi vapuṣi viśade vasanaṁ jaladābhaṁ
    hala-hati-bhīti-milita yamunābham

    Yamunā was afraid of Baladev's plow

    Yamunā was afraid of Baladev’s plow, because he called the Yamunā to aid in his Pastimes, but she didn’t come and Baladev began to take his plow and bring the Yamunā to himself and then she flowed wherever Baladev was, fearful of his plow, “hala-hati-bhīti-milita yamunābham.”

    Nityānanda Prabhu comes as Baladev

    So, in the same way it is described by Lochan Dās Ṭhākur that Nityānanda Prabhu took the ocean of prema like that and spread it everywhere, “ghore ghore bule prema-amiyāra bāna(Nitāi guṇamaṇi āmāra: 4) he made a flood of prema in every door.
    And the devotees were drowning, “ḍubilo bhakata-gaṇa” all the devotees were drowning in that ocean of prema that was brought by Nityānanda Prabhu and “dīna-hīna bhāse” and the non-devotees were floated. It’s Nityānanda Prabhu’s program—the devotees were drowning in that ocean of love and prema and non-devotees were floating in it. But everybody was welcome—this is the mood of Nityānanda Prabhu. And Baladev now has come in that form.
    We could say sometimes [that] Nityānanda Prabhu comes as Baladev, because we’re Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇavas, our Param Guru Mahārāj has answered that question. That’s our Guru’s conception, therefore that’s our conception. Not that we have any right to any conception, we have no right even to any conception of anything. We are dealing with other people’s property. All these conceptions that we have of who is Baladev, who is Nitāi, who is Mahāprabhu, who is Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, who is Guru, who is the Vaiṣṇava, these are not our conceptions, these are not our property. These are all the conceptions of our Gurus, they lend them to us. They try to intoxicate us with these things, but they try to make our life joyful and intoxicated with these conceptions. In our previous experience if we had something nice we want to share with our friends. Our Gurus are intoxicated with Kṛṣṇa-prema.

    An 'Old Man-conception' of God

    All of you began in a very young age, but we come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness some of us with our past history and our past religious training. And our past religious training is pious, it's definitely pious, but it doesn’t fit in the Kṛṣṇa conception. Like in Christianity, Avadhūt Mahārāj repeated Śrīla Gurudev’s example the other day, “Can you play football with Allah? Can you conceive that Allah is madly intoxicated? And then therefore Muhammad must be madly intoxicated, can you conceive of that? And in Christianity can you conceive that?”
    I was a Catholic boy, I went to Catholic school, I was an altar boy, I did the whole thing. God was very strict. That’s the depiction of God in other religious conceptions—He is very strict Himself and even in His personal life. And that is because He is the oldest being then He is always depicted as an old man. And old men doesn’t party.
    So, in my church there was a mural on the ceiling. The Catholic Church has some imitation of Michelangelo thing and God was sitting on the chair. I only remember [that] because it was a frightening scene, God was sitting on the chair looking very stern and very strict.

    God is not strict at all!

    And I remember when I went to Vṛndāvan with Śrīla Gurudev, I hadn’t been to Vṛndāvan for many-many-many years and then in 1999 I had the opportunity to go to Vṛndāvan with Śrīla Gurudev for the opening of our Temple there, the installation of Rādhā-Rasabihārī. And then hearing from Śrīla Gurudev at that time, Śrīla Gurudev was obviously more mobile than he is now, walking around Vṛndāvan, walking to the Rādhā-Dāmodar Temple, walking down to the Imlitala Temple of Bhakti Śāraṅga Goswāmī Mahārāj. And hearing Śrīla Gurudev’s description of Vṛndāvan and Kṛṣṇa, it's is like a slap in the face. And for someone with my background, a Christian background it’s like a big slap in the face—God is not strict at all! Every other conception I have about God as an old strict man—forget about it, that’s not what God is like. He is madly intoxicated all the time. We know that Baladev especially likes that Vāruṇī drink, he is always intoxicated, his eyes are red. But it’s not like you see an intoxicated man, not like that. We are not comparing Baladev to any mundane thing, but he is madly intoxicated always, running around, anybody gets in his way he slaps him out of the way. He is also very kind and magnanimous and the most magnanimous is Nityānanda Prabhu. And especially towards the fallen souls.

    Fallen souls are getting mercy by taking the name of Nityānanda Prabhu

    And Śrīla Gurudev explained why was my Guru Mahārāj always taking the name of Nityānanda Prabhu—to show us. That in his Vaiṣṇava humility he took himself as a fallen soul and he was showing us how fallen souls get mercy from Nityānanda Prabhu. That’s how we get mercy, that’s how the mercy comes to us.

    Raghunath couldn't get Mahāprabhu's connection without the mercy of Nityānanda

    Even Raghunath Dās Goswāmī, we can't imagine how much blessings he had in his life. We were reading somewhere the other day [that] his father and his uncle Majumdār, Govardhan and Hiraṇya they were very rich men like a Rockefeller or a Bill Gates of that time in West Bengal. But they were very charitably disposed toward the Vaiṣṇavas. And they gave a lot of charity to Advaita Āchārya, to Nīlāmbar Chakravartī, to Jagannāth Miśra, to Haridās Ṭhākur, so from the time Raghunath Dās Goswāmī was [a small boy] he was blessed by those particular Vaiṣṇavas, so when he was old enough to hear he was hearing the glories of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa from Haridās Ṭhākur.
    He tried so hard to keep connected with Mahāprabhu. As we heard from the scriptures the other day, when Kṛṣṇa was leaving the world, that separation was too much for everyone and Śrīla Gurudev, it never dawned on me before, but he pointed out to me one time that all the great devotees like Rūpa, Sanātan, Raghunath Dās Goswāmī were all watching Mahāprabhu’s every movement. And then when Mahāprabhu took sannyās they all became mad and then they all took sannyās. And went with him and went in his service deeply to feel the connection to Mahāprabhu. So, for the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava when Mahāprabhu left Nabadwīp it was like Kṛṣṇa leaving Vṛndāvan. Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s wrote that famous śloka.
    Raghunath Dās Goswāmī couldn’t get Mahāprabhu’s connection, every time he was captured. His parents were rich, they hired many security guards some tall security guards, some regular security guards like ten-twelve guys always watching him twenty-four hours a day. Many times he tried to run to Mahāprabhu and every time his was captured and brought back.
    Then, when he got the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu… How do we get the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu? He put on a little festival—some dahi [yogurt] and some kholā [bananas], some flat rice. He made that festival and Nityānanda Prabhu was so satisfied with him, because not only did he feed Nityānanda Prabhu, he fed all the Vaiṣṇavas that were with Nityānanda Prabhu and fully respected all of them. And even gave them some cash when he was leaving for some future expenses, because he had no interest himself in any of those things.
    After getting the blessing of Nityānanda, Nityānanda Prabhu put his feet on the head of Raghunath Dās Goswāmī and blessed him. Then very quickly after that he spent the rest of his life with Mahāprabhu. Maybe not the rest of his life, but at least the rest of Mahāprabhu’s manifested Pastimes Raghunath Dās Goswāmī was there after he got the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu.
    So, we need the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu. Baladev, Kṛṣṇa, Vṛndāvan, everything is coming to us through the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu, because Nityānanda Prabhu is the Ādi-Guru. And therefore our Gurudev is carrying the full potency of Nityānanda Prabhu to us. And he is asking us the same thing.

    Just worship my Gaurāṅga!

    And Avadhūt Mahārāj made that point already, why are we just worshiping Gaurāṅga? That’s Nityānanda Prabhu’s prayer to us, ‘bhaja Gaurāṅga’—that’s enough. We don’t need to do anything more. If we worship Gaurāṅga, Nityānanda Prabhu will be satisfied, because he is praying like that, “Bhaja Gaurāṅga, kaha Gaurāṅga, laha Gaurāṅgera nāma, ye jana Gaurāṅga bhaje sei āmāra prāṇa.” — And if you do that, if you worship my Gaurāṅga, if you talk about my Gaurāṅga, if you take the name of my Gaurāṅga you will be my life and soul. And [if] you become the life and soul of Nityānanda Prabhu you’ll have entrance everywhere. In Vṛndāvan Kṛṣṇa-līlā, Baladev-līlā, every līlā you’ll be allowed in. If you become the life and soul of Nityānanda Prabhu you won’t be checked anywhere just like if you were a good friend of the King of Thailand, there is no place where you couldn’t go. Everywhere you went in Thailand you would be fully welcomed. If you’d go to the Palace, if you’d go Governor’s House, you could go anywhere you wanted if everybody knew you were a good friend of the King. If you are the good friend of Obama you could go everywhere in America. Any dinner at the White House, any big State Meeting, everywhere you’d be welcomed. If you are with the Governator you go any place you want to.

    Madhura-rasa—the real purpose of Nityānanda Prabhu's sampradāya

    So, if you have the position of being the life and soul of Nityānanda Prabhu every door is opened to you in every līlā. But Param Guru Mahārāj was explaining that the Rūpānuga-sampradāya is particularly and specifically for madhura-rasa, that’s the purpose of the Rūpānuga-sampradāya.
    We had some discussion a couple weeks ago with Śrīla Gurudev. Gurudev was singing some songs of Chaṇḍī Dās. In this particular sampradāya, which is Nityānanda Prabhu’s sampradāya the real purpose is only madhura-rasa. Everything is targeted towards that and even that becomes open to you if you have the grace of Nityānanda Prabhu. “Nitāiyer karuṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe...” if Nityānanda Prabhu will be merciful to me then I’ll get entrance into the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa-līlā in Vṛndāvan, otherwise not.

    Everything must come to us through Guru, otherwise we will be cheated

    So, how is Nitāi’s mercy coming to me? Through Śrīla Gurudev, that’s the only way anything transcendental and divine can come to me. I cannot go around him, I cannot jump over him. If Gurudev is angry with me then I cannot go to somebody else. Sometimes we try to do that in the world, [when] we have some jobs, so our bosses angry with us, we try to go to some other channel. But you can’t do that in the divine world. There's no going around Gurudev, just sometimes if Gurudev was angry with you for some particular mistake then Param Guru Mahārāj may show you a little special mercy, cause that’s what the grandfather does. If the father is very angry with you sometimes your grandfather can give you some relief. But otherwise we can’t get it from any other place, the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu must be given to us by Śrīla Gurudev. The conception of Baladev must be given to us by Śrīla Gurudev. Everything must come from him, otherwise we’ll be cheated.
    Param Guru Mahārāj wrote in his famous song, “gati-vañchita-vañchakāchintya-padaṁ,” (Prabhupāda-padma Stavakaḥ, 2) the society of the cheaters and the cheated. His lotus feet are the inconceivable shelter for the cheaters and the cheated. And that’s what’s happening. The cheaters and the cheated. We like to be the cheater, cause we all have that propensity, nobody else tells you that. You don't go to some other religious discourse and they tell that you have these defects. And one of those defects is cheating propensity.
    Bhrama [the tendency to make mistakes], pramād [illusion], karaṇāpāṭava [imperfect senses] and vipralipsā. Vipralipsā means the cheating propensity. So, we all have the cheating propensity. Every living entity, conditioned soul, not liberated soul, but every condition soul has cheating propensity. So, we all want to be the cheater, we don’t want to be the cheated. We know that it’s the mundane world, the plane of exploitation, so many people are stronger than us in many different ways: intellectually stronger, physically stronger, financially stronger, socially stronger. And then we become the cheated, they become the cheaters. Then we are frustrated, angry, disappointed. And what is happiness? When we are successfully cheating. But when we come to some cheater more powerful than ourselves then we become the cheated, disappointed, frustrated. And if we leave the doorway of Śrīla Gurudev then all our transactions will be there. Doesn’t mean we can’t take shelter and get guidance and help from another Vaiṣṇava, but that Vaiṣṇava must be loyal to our Gurudev. We are getting help from everybody, but those people that are helping are loyal to Gurudev, otherwise they can’t help us. Doesn’t mean we oust them, disrespect them, it’s not the mood of Vaiṣṇavism, but ultimately they can’t help us. If someone has no faith in my Guru, how will they help me? They can’t help me.
    All of this wealth and treasure and this beautiful, madly intoxicated conception—that’s what they really are. But because we haven’t really tasted them, we were sitting around morose, angry, disturbed, so many things, especially as everybody knows I’m an angry man. Why? Because I’m not tasting this thing, not tasting this conception. My Gurudev was trying heart and soul every way possible to give it to me, every way possible to make it attractive for me without altering the original thing. Whenever we try to do that, because we are not on a high level of consciousness, then we alter the thing. But Gurudev can do that without altering the original thing. He was trying to make it attractive for us and he started Mahāprabhu’s program, which was embodied by Nityānanda Prabhu.

    Who can be more merciful than Mahāprabhu?

    How tolerant is Nityānanda Prabhu? Nityānanda Prabhu wanted to go to Jagāi and Mādhāi and Haridās Ṭhākur said, “Maybe we should find somebody else...” you can imagine how merciful was Haridās Ṭhākur, but he said, “[Maybe we should find] some more mellow people than them.” No, Nityānanda Prabhu wanted to start with Jagāi and Mādhāi.
    dīna-hīna yata chhilo, hari-nāme uddhārilo,
    tāra śākṣī jagāi mādhāi
    (Iṣṭa-deve Vijñapti: 3)
    The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa can uplift everyone no matter how fallen they are and here is the evidence for it—Jagāi and Mādhāi.
    So, Nityānanda Prabhu went to them repeatedly and was so abused by them. Sometimes we have some experience, we’ve been on the street we invite people to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa... and we’ve been abused by people, but not the way Nityānanda Prabhu was abused by Jagāi and Mādhāi. Even to the point of violence, but Nityānanda Prabhu didn’t object, even at that stage when he was injured by them. And we know, Nityānanda Prabhu is Baladev, he is very powerful so he has no problem to whoop up on Jagāi and Mādhāi. How to put it in gentlemanly terms… to give a beating to Jagāi and Mādhāi would’ve been nothing for him, but he didn’t. He only prayed to them more. And then, when Mahāprabhu came to punish them he prayed to Mahāprabhu more. And Mahāprabhu came to punish them, Mahāprabhu is the most merciful—namo mahā-vadānyāya. But Nityānanda prayed to Mahāprabhu even to be more merciful to Jagāi and Mādhāi. [He said], “Be more merciful to them, don’t punish them. If you punish them who will we give this to you?” This humility, tolerance, giving honour to others it makes this thing so beautiful and Nityānanda Prabhu showed the epitomy of that. And our Gurudev is carrying that tradition.

    Why do we feel wonderful for years after one meeting with Gurudev?

    Why do we all feel so wonderful in his company? If we could slip in his door for a few minutes, immediately we feel wonderful. Why do we feel so wonderful? He is not paying us, not giving us anything, [but] just to sit in his room even, a couple of minutes, makes your whole day. And maybe you only get this opportunity once and then you have to go back to your country or go to some other place for the whole year or maybe you won’t even see him for two or three years and you are still good, [because] you spent twenty minutes in his room and you remember that for two or three years and it soothes and consoles you. Why? Because he is the embodiment of that mood of Nityānanda Prabhu and that’s the real position of Baladev.

    Sometimes Baladev slaps Kṛṣṇa in their Pastimes

    Baladev is the servant of Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes he also slaps Kṛṣṇa in his service. Gurudev told that beautiful story [when] Baladev slapped Kṛṣṇa. Do you know why Baladev slapped Kṛṣṇa?
    Audience: When they were playing Kṛṣṇa was cheating and then Baladev slapped him.
    Vaiṣṇava Mahārāj: Gave him a pretty good slap for that. And then Kṛṣṇa went and complained to Mother Yaśoda, “Baladev slapped me.” Baladev went there and Yaśoda was chastising him so much, “You are abusing your brother, you have to take care of him and you are punishing him! He is my life and soul, everything I do—I do for him. Every moment of my day I watch out for him, I look over him, I take care of him. Don’t worry, I’m doing that already.”
    Then Baladev went to Kṛṣṇa and said, “What kind of nonsense is this, what kind of brother are you? So many lives, so many incarnations (Lakṣmaṇa, etc.) I tolerated so much, I went to the forest for you, I did so much for you and you can’t tolerate one slap from me? What kind of brother are you?” And Gurudev said that Kṛṣṇa was very embarrassed.

    Why Baladev didn't go near Kurukṣetra?

    That Baladev, who couldn’t go near Kurukṣetra, because Duryodhana was his favourite student. So, sometimes we think of the Kauravas as demons, but Duryodhana was Baladev’s favourite student and Baladev taught him club fighting so well, that he knew that Bhīṣma couldn’t defeat him unless they cheated. And then Balarāma would have become too angry to watch his student dying through some cheating, even though Kṛṣṇa wanted it. So, he stayed away, near to Kurukṣetra.

    Try to be honest with yourself about your own position

    That Baladev, all of that śakti, all of that energy has changed into merciful dispensation in the form of Nityānanda Prabhu. And Nityānanda Prabhu has come to us as our Gurudev. The position of Guru is the embodiment of Nityānanda Prabhu's mercy dispensation. And in that way it’s coming to all of us, without any consideration, “dīnahīna patita pāmara nāhi bāche...” however fallen, degraded, low class, abominable we may be, but the prayer comes to us also, “Bhaja Gaurāṅga, kaha Gaurāṅga, laha Gaurāṅgera nāma...” And by the grace of our Guru we are getting some conception of that and they are teaching us. Śrīla Gurudev explained that Param Guru Mahārāj was teaching us and fortunately no one imitates that. Everything we take we try to imitate and I’m very happy that nobody imitates that, at least that I haven’t seen so far. Param Guru Mahārāj was always saying, “Dayāl-Nitāi, dayāl-Nitāi, dayāl-Nitāi...” He would say some śloka, give few minutes explanation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then twenty-five times [dayāl-Nitāi]. And he was teaching us, Gurudev said. That’s what we need to be doing, we need help. [I] don’t want to speak for somebody else, but I need that help, that’s my condition, I’m in that category, ‘dīnahīna patita pāmara’-situation, I should be doing that, [but] I’m not doing that. And Narottam Dās Ṭhākur said, “ahaṅkāre matta haiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā...,(Manaḥ-Śikṣā: 3) being intoxicated with my own ego I forgot the lotus feet of Nityānanda Prabhu “ahaṅkāre matta haiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā, asatyere satya kori māni,” and I’ve taken all the unimportant things to be important. That way I’m spending my life. And I’m so intoxicated with my own ego, I can’t even see that, because when we take the unimportant things as important then we think they’re important.
    In another way you have to explain this: in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī says,
    bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat
    piśāchī hṛdi vartate
    tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra
    katham abhyudayo bhavet
    (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: 1.2.22)
    And in Śrīla Prabhupād’s translation of that he says, “As long as one is trying to be more important either in the material sense or the spiritual sense then one can never taste the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”
    Bhukti-mukti, mundane enjoyment and spiritual emancipation. “Bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat”, what is part of spiritual emancipation? Everyone will see that I’m an advanced person, I’m a sādhu, of course no-one is going to see that with me and that’s one of the traps—pratiṣṭhā. “Bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat, piśāchī hṛdi vartate”, as long as that witch of māyā is in our heart, bewildering us with those things the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa consciousness can never awaken there.
    Tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra, katham abhyudayo bhavet,” how can it be awakened, how can that manifest in our heart as long as we are in that other condition. So, “ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā”, intoxicated with my own ego. The same situation in a simpler, sweeter expression. I forgot the lotus feet of Nityānanda Prabhu intoxicated with my own ego, therefore I’m not calling out, because I think I’m somebody, because I think [I] have something then I’m not calling out to Nityānanda Prabhu. And if I was really honest about my own situation and my own position, then I would be calling out to Nityānanda Prabhu, I would be remembering Nityānanda Prabhu.

    One śuddha-nām is what we are aming for

    We are not imitating, we are not going [to say] on every point, ‘dayāl Nitāi, dayāl Nitāi’, not like that. But at least internally we have to be making that call and better internally. And why did Gurudev say, ‘external show’, that’s only going to take me more and more in that direction. Where I won’t be able to do it internally and then if we have some external show of doing it, taking us further in the wrong direction. Still, we should do it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the name of Nitāi, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
    Janārdan Mahārāj had that joke and people have to understand that it’s a joke that we are better off chanting four rounds of Nām-aparādh than sixteen rounds of Nām-aparādh. Cause there are people from other societies always coming to us [with the question]: “How many rounds do you chant?” So then Janārdan Mahārāj is joking that four rounds of Nām-aparādh [is better] than sixteen rounds of Nām-aparādh. The one śuddha-nām is what we are interested in, so why are we chanting? We are chanting for one śuddha-nām. And the name is very merciful, all the divine sound is very merciful, all the divine sound is equipped with mercy.

    How should we treat the behavior of the Vraja-vasīs?

    Our Param Guru Mahārāj wrote:
    gāyatrī muralīṣṭa-kīrttana-dhanaṁ rādhā-padaṁ dhīmahi
    Even Kṛṣṇa’s flute want’s to distribute that, gāyatrī-muralīṣṭa. Muralīṣṭa means the desire of the flute. The flute itself wants to give us that and trying to push that sound into the heart of the living entities. Rādhā-padaṁ dhīmahi. Who are we? That time when I went to Vṛndāvan with Śrīla Gurudev for the opening I haven’t been to Vṛndāvan for so many years and it’s different than Nabadwīp. So, even the rickshaw wallah [drivers] they don’t do their horn, they say ‘jaya Rādhe’. And instead of on the wall seeing the hammer and the sickle it's written there ‘jaya Rādhe’ or mahāmantra is written on the wall and you see people chanting mahāmantra.
    So, I went to Gurudev and said, “Oh, the Vṛndāvan is so beautiful, even the rickshaw wallah they don’t even sound their horn, they jusst say ‘jaya Rādhe’...” And Gurudev had that look... he just gave me that look, he didn’t say anything to me. He gave me that look like, “You are so foolish person...” And you can feel it when he gives you that look. And as I felt that look I understood I was foolish, but I didn’t clearly understand how I was foolish in that particular context.
    And then when we were leaving Vṛndāvan to go to Kolkata, as we were riding out of Vṛndāvan in the car Śrīla Gurudev said to me, “The residents of Vṛndāvan have their own program, we don’t interfere with that, we don’t abuse them. But Śukadev Goswāmī didn’t take the name of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, he was shy to take the name of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Then what should our feeling be?” And then when he said that I understood why I was foolish. And it doesn’t mean I’m not foolish in a million ways, but in that particular context.

    Gurudev is not punishing us by giving us the name of Kṛṣṇa

    Śukadev Goswāmī was shy to take the name of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but still Kṛṣṇa’s flute is trying to infuse that to the hearts of the living entities.
    gāyatrī muralīṣṭa-kīrttana-dhanaṁ rādhā-padaṁ dhīmahi
    We know in our Mission ladies don’t get Brahma-gāyatrī, but you get that gāyatrī. We may not get Brahma-gāyatrī, but we get Kṛṣṇa-gāyatrī, Kāma-gāyatrī, Gaura-gāyatrī, all the other gāyatrīs. That is so beautiful, that infusing is coming through those other gāyatrīs, Rādhā-padaṁ dhīmahi.
    So, everything, every divine sound that is mercifully disposed towards us, through the grace of Nityānanda Prabhu, we know it means the grace of Gurudev and all the power of Baladev is contained in that. And everything will be mercifully disposed towards us. When that question comes around, "How many rounds do you chant?", the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is not a punishment. Our Gurudev asked to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa, it isn’t like some punishment, “Oh my God, I have to do this...”
    One of my godbrothers wrote a book about chanting japa like it was some kind of punishment. “On this day we have to do more and ‘struggle’ to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa more.” Chanting the name of Kṛṣṇa is not a punishment. Gurudev is not punishing us by giving us the name of Kṛṣṇa. That name of Kṛṣṇa itself is so mercifully disposed towards us. If we are fortunate to get up early in the morning, then in the morning we’ll hear that song, Udilo Aruṇa. And in the last stanza of Udilo Aruṇa it says, “jīvera kalyāṇa-sādhana-kām,”—this name of Kṛṣṇa has such an intense desire to do good to the living entity, “jagate āsi’ e madhura nām,”—for that reason the sweet Name came to that world. The intense desire is called kāma. When the desire is very strong then it’s called kāma, “jīvera kalyāṇa-sādhana-kām, jagate āsi’ e madhura nām”, even that sweet Name of Kṛṣṇa came to the world and enters the world for that purpose—to do good for us. “Avidyā-timira-tapana-rūpe,”—like the sun it’s rising in our heart and getting rid of all the darkness. “Hṛd-gagane birāje,” in the sky of our heart it has arisen.

    Who is first, Nityānanda Prabhu or Baladev?

    So, Mahāprabhu told Nityānanda Prabhu, “Go around and preach that.” But Nityānanda Prabhu didn’t do that, he went around and preached his conception: ‘bhaja Gaurāṅga’. And Mahāprabhu said, “Bhaja Kṛṣṇa, bolo Kṛṣṇa, koro Kṛṣṇa śikṣa.” So, Nityānanda Prabhu didn’t do that, he made his own program: “Bhaja Gaurāṅga, kaha Gaurāṅga, laha Gaurāṅgera nāma...” Even more merciful, even better than Kṛṣṇa, take the name of my Gaurāṅga.
    That’s Baladev’s gift to us. And we could say that Baladev is a gift to us from Nityānanda Prabhu, everything is coming like that. Param Guru Mahārāj said, “If we are asked, then we have to say what is original. Who is more original? Who came first, Mahāprabhu or Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa? Then we have to say Mahāprabhu.” That’s what Param Guru Mahārāj said. I wouldn’t say anything, I have no business of getting any opinion on that particular subject matter, but Guru Mahārāj’s opinion is that.
    And then we think, “Who is first, Nityānanda Prabhu or Baladev?” Then we say—Nityānanda Prabhu. And through Nityānanda Prabhu we get Baladev, we get everything. Without him we won’t. We run around, we may try so many ways, even with blessings and so many things, but without the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu we can’t get it.

    Everything what we need will come from Guru

    āra kabe nitāi-chā̐da koruṇā karibe
    saṁsāra-bāsanā mora kabe tuchchha ha’be
    (‘Gaurāṅga’ bolite habe, 2)
    The whole material gain will be something very-very insignificant to me if Nityānanda Prabhu will be merciful to me. And Avadhūt Mahārāj was explaining the other day very beautifully that we all have this two-fold thing going on within us. We like Hari-kathā and we like to do these things, but my mind wants to go to the mall and my mind wants to go to the ice-cream store, my mind wants to go to check out the motorcycles and new cars and this and that and so many things, struggles are going on inside. But then when Nityānanda Prabhu will be more merciful to us,
    āra kabe nitāi-chā̐da koruṇā karibe
    saṁsāra-bāsanā mora kabe tuchchha ha’be
    Then that whole game will be over. And brand new Mercedes s600 won' have any attraction for me and a BMW motorcycle will have no attraction for me. None of those things, and I’m not going to do the whole list. [laughing] Nothing will hold any attraction from me when Nityānanda Prabhu will be merciful, nothing except of Kṛṣṇa and everything connected with that. And everything that’s coming through Gurudev.
    And Gurudev was very pleased on Param Guru Mahārāj’s Tirobhāv when I said that one thing about, “Nāma-śreṣṭham manum api śachī-putram atra svarūpaṁ,(by Śrīla Raghunath Dās Goswāmī)—everything is coming to us through Gurudev. “Rūpaṁ tasyāgrajam,”—how do we even know these things, how do we know the name of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, we don’t deserve it. I’m sorry, I don’t want to put everybody in the same class, but we don’t deserve even to know the name of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, tasyāgrajamSanātan Goswāmī, “uru-purīm māthurīṁ goṣṭhavātīm,” we know the difference between Mathurā and Vṛndāvan by the grace of our Gurus and how much more special. When Śrīla Gurudev came to Soquel and installed the deities Guru-Gaurāṅga Gāndharvikā Giridhārī in Soquel he had on his write on the wall Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Bengali translation, one part of it. You read Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtamand there Saraswatī Ṭhākur wrote some Bengali translation especially of the Upadeśāmṛta verses. Then Param Guru Mahārāj gave that as the translation to the verse. So in that verse from Upadeśāmṛta,
    vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād-
    vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govarddhanaḥ
    rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
    kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
    (Upadeśāmṛta: 9)
    Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur wrote beautiful Bengali poetic translation of that śloka and one pada says,
    vṛndāvana haite śreṣṭha govardhana-śaila
    gāndharvikā-giridhārī yathā krīḍā kaila
    (Bengali translation-verse by Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur: 3)
    Better than Vṛndāvan is Govardhan where Gāndharvikā and Giridhārī are always playing. We know that, uru-purīṁ Māthurīṁ goṣṭhavātīm, Rādhā-kuṇḍaṁ giri-varam aho Rādhikā-Mādhavāśāṁ, prāpto yasya prathita-kṛpaya Śrī-Guruṁ taṁ nato ’smi. Everything is coming from Gurudev. Everything we need we will get from him, everything we need for our service life. Previously that was the system in Śrī Chaitanya Saraswat Maṭh when it was smaller and even when I joined an ISKCON of course we didn’t go to Śrīla Prabhupād to get something, but to the temple president. Whatever you needed you are going to the temple president. You need a dhotī, a kūrtā, t-shirt or whatever you went to the temple president. That was the system. And in Śrī Chaitanya Saraswat Maṭh for many-many-many years until the Westerners came and spoiled everything whatever you needed you got from Param Guru Mahārāj. You need a shirt, a dhotī, some medicine, some shoes, whatever you needed you had to get from Param Guru Mahārāj and he gave it to you. That’s a whole other subject.
    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.6.46)
    Uddhava said to Kṛṣṇa, “By taking your remnants, I conquer your māyā [illusory energy].” So, if we live our life like that, everything that we need is coming from Gurudev. And even if I need some clothes, even if I need some foodstuffs it comes in the form of prasādam. Everything I need I can get from Gurudev and every spiritual necessity. But all the external things as well, if I’m a servant everything will be taken care of. And in Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam Param Guru Mahārāj gave that evidential śloka, as a sold animal doesn’t have to worry about it’s own maintenance, so the servants of the Lord also have nothing to think about and worry about if we were really servants.
    Gurudev is giving us everything, top to bottom and everything in the middle, everything that we need, every conception, every understanding of everything we’re getting from him. Sometimes directly, sometimes through inspiration.
    So, Baladev, Nityānanda Prabhu, everything is coming to us through Gurudev, he is the source of that. Baladev is the original Guru and of course Nityānanda Prabhu has shown that actually, ‘get off the throne’. Nityānanda Prabhu told Baladev, “Your time is over,” in the other words—“you only get a little time, but really the time is our time, Mahāprabhu’s time.” It’s been also Nityānanda Prabhu’s time.

    Does Guru's spiritual potency depend upon his physical capacity?

    So, then the Ādi-Guru is also Nityānanda Prabhu and that power is held by our Gurudev. And if we understand that everything that we need to conceive is contained in his lotus feet. And do we think that his physical capacity, his physical condition is relevant in this regard? Has Śrīla Gurudev lost his potency to give us all the divine things that we need, because his body can’t function like it used to?
    We have to consider these things. Śrīla Gurudev has his own meditation and he would like to spend the rest of his days in that meditation no doubt, so he is not so eager to do the external work of the Āchārya in this time during his life. Neither was Param Guru Mahārāj, neither was Śrīla Prabhupād, neither was Saraswatī Ṭhākur at that time of their lives. Maybe it happened at different ages, you know that Saraswatī Ṭhākur was only sixty-six years old when he left the world. So, it may happen at different ages, but at this particular time of their lives. But does that diminish their spiritual capacity? Does Gurudev’s external condition in any way diminishes his spiritual potency? And he is still carrying the whole thing, including the power transmission of the Rūpānuga-sampradāya still in his hands. He hasn’t put it in anybody else’s [hands]. Saraswatī Ṭhākur gave it to Param Guru Mahārāj and Param Guru Mahārāj gave it to him along with everything else that he had spiritually, materially, in terms of buildings, in terms of property, in terms of spiritual wealth, everything that Param Guru Mahārāj had he gave to our Gurudev. And Gurudev is still holding that, as Gurudev says very seriously, ‘still holding the chair of the Śrī Chaitanya Saraswat Maṭh’.
    Even an ordinary man whatever spirituality he has is not lost due to some material situation. So, what about Gurudev, does some external physical condition have anything to do with his spiritual potency?